Motorcycle sales down in first quarter

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Association of Indonesian Motorcycle Manufacturers is optimistic this year's sales target can be achieved despite a drop in sales during the first quarter.

Association chairman Gunadi Sindhuwinata said in Jakarta on Saturday sales from January to March dropped slightly to 906,000 units, from 906,245 in the same period last year. He attributed the decline to an increase in lending rates.

"We hope interest rates will decline in the next few months so that in the second semester sales will increase again," he said.

Bank Indonesia has indicated it may start cutting interest rates in the second quarter if current positive trends in the economy continue, particularly with regard to inflation and the rupiah.

In 2005, motorcycles sales reached a staggering 5.09 million units, a 36 percent increase from 3.9 million in 2004.

Although total sales increased sharply last year, there were signs of declining sales in the fourth quarter following an increase in lending rates in October. This prompted the association to lower its 2006 sales target to 4.6 million units.

Gunadi said motorcycle sales continued to be dominated by Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki, followed by Kawasaki, Kanzen, Kymco and Piagio.

Meanwhile, data from the Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers showed a 49.1 percent decrease in car sales in March to 26,834 units, from 52,765 units sold in the same month last year.

However, this still represented a slight increase of 3.4 percent from February's car sales of 25,975 units.

Toyota, Mitsubishi and Suzuki continued to maintain their positions as the top three players in the auto market. (08)
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